How is a charge filed?
The Kansas City Police Department responds to and investigates all incidents of alleged domestic violence. The police officers and investigative unit determines whether a charge will be filed as a domestic violence complaint in the City’s Municipal Court. The Prosecutor’s Office does not file charges. Once a charge is filed the defendant will be arrested at the scene of the incident if the defendant is still present. If the defendant has fled the scene, a warrant for the defendant’s arrest will be issued.
Who is the defendant? Who is the witness?
- The person who was charged with a crime is referred to as the "defendant."
- The person who was assaulted is referred to as the City’s "witness." Often times the witness will be referred to as the "victim" by the prosecution staff and domestic violence advocates for identification purposes in situations where there are third parties who were present at the time of the domestic violence incident
Can the victim drop the charges against the defendant?
No. The City Prosecutor’s Office is responsible for pressing charges/prosecuting the case against the defendant.
Why should a victim cooperate with the Prosecutor’s Office?
Prosecution can motivate the defendant to change his/her future behavior. Many defendants are ordered to attend a batterer’s intervention program as a condition of bond or probation, a series of individual and group counseling designed to modify the defendant’s assaultive and controlling behavior. Additionally many defendants are required to undergo drug or alcohol counseling, mental health counseling, parenting counseling and other programs specific to the defendant’s situation. The possibility of serving jail time should the defendant violate his/her probation also acts as strong deterrent in preventing future domestic violence incidents.
What should a victim bring to court?
A victim should bring any photographs taken following the domestic violence incident of her injuries, the property that was damaged or condition of the house following the incident. If the case involves damage to property the victim should supply the prosecutor with a repair estimate or receipt showing replacement cost to establish the extent of damage to the property. If the victim required medical attention, the victim should provide the prosecutor with a copy of the medical records and medical bill(s) as evidence of the extent of injury caused by the defendant.
Is childcare provided to victims who appear for court?
The Domestic Violence Victim Assistance Program offers child care for victims appearing in Domestic Violence Court. The child care center also is available to child victims of abuse. The child care center is housed within the Victim Assistants’ Office. The area is secured and is accessible only to staff, victims and victim’s witnesses. A chilcare provider is available during the hours of 8:30 - 11:30 a.m., Monday through Friday. There is no charge for the services.